Ankita Raina breaks into the top-200

The 25-year-old Ankita had reached her previous best rank of 212 in the last list, which bettered her old record of 222 that she had reached in 2013.

After winning the $25,000 ITF event in Gwalior, Ankita Raina has been capitalising on her visit to Japan by reaching the semifinals and the quarterfinals, over the last fortnight.   -  PTI

Ankita Raina, who has been in top form this season both in the FedCup and the professional circuit, broke into the top-200 of world rankings, and reached a career-best 197, as per the latest list released by the WTA on Monday.

The 25-year-old Ankita had reached her previous best rank of 212 in the last list, which bettered her old record of 222 that she had reached in 2013.

“I am very happy that finally, I am in the top 200’’, said Ankita, when contacted in Osaka, Japan. “I have been waiting for quite some time to get here and have been patient with the ups and downs’’, remarked Ankita, quite emotional about the struggle with the passage of time.

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“There were times when it had looked really difficult target, but my coach always had the faith in me. My family has been my strength in tough times’’, said Ankita, who has been coached for the last ten years by Hemant Bendrey.

Ankita does travel at times with physio Rutuja Patange or trainer Gaurav Nijhon. Her mom also accompanies her sometimes, but she travels alone when competing abroad to stretch the sponsorship support from the Gujarat government to the last mile.

“I had tears of joy. I am here by myself. So, I celebrated by crying all alone’’, said Ankita, spitting words, straight from her heart. Of course, Karman Kaur Thandi also competes in the same tournament, but the players have their own stay arrangements, training sessions, etc.

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After winning the $25,000 ITF event in Gwalior, Ankita has been capitalising on her visit to Japan by reaching the semifinals and the quarterfinals, over the last fortnight. She hopes to celebrate her new status with another good run this week.

“I will be playing the WTA in China next week’’, said Ankita, who has realigned her next as the top-150 in world rankings. When she competed in the $125,000 WTA event in Mumbai in 2017, Ankita made to the quarterfinals. She was beaten by Amandine Hesse of France then, and Ankita avenged that defeat in Gwalior recently.

Sania Mirza had rocketed to No.27 in the world in singles in 2007 and No.1 in doubles in 2015. Nirupama Sanjeev (nee Vaidyanathan) had reached a career-best rank of 134, in 1998.